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A few weekends ago, I attended a get together with friends at the Wortwell Bell. This conveniently coincided with a beer festival! Wortwell is a village located on the Norfolk/Suffolk border between Bungay and Harleston. It is a pub my wife and I have met our friends at on three occasions now due to the fact it is a halfway house between us. Here I want to offer a brief review of both the pub and the beer festival.
First of all the pub is evidently a big part of the local community. Part of the pub operates as the local store selling a range of fresh vegetables and groceries. It is truly a welcoming local with friendly service from the staff in all my experiences at the bar. The Bell represents the very essence of a local.
All the times I have been to this Pub I have eaten there. The first time I attended I had a huge and rather delicious burger. On the second occasion they were serving jacket potatoes; I had one with pulled pork which was rather good. Over the weekend they had an evening hog roast which again was very good. Pricing is very reasonable and you get a good portion for your money.
Before I commence on reviewing their beer I need to first say what they do really well and that is real cider. For the festival there were at least six real ciders on and when I have previously attended the Bell there has been at least three on. As far as real cider is concerned this is a good place to go in the Waveney area.
My views about their beer are mixed. Pricing is very reasonable and the condition of the beers is always acceptable although I would never say that I have had a very good pint there. In terms of choice they usually have four beers on (16 for the festival) but no beer from smaller breweries. They usually have beers from Woodfordes and Adnams on but that is it in terms of local ale. With Grain Brewery literally 5 minutes away I find it difficult that they never have any of their beers on to try.
With regards to this last weekend’s festival I did have some decent pints; it was just disappointing that all except two beers were either Bitters or Goldens. The two outsiders being sessionable IPA’s. The dominance of these styles has been prevalent throughout all my visits to the pub. I would like to see something either a bit stronger or a bit darker in future!
Anyway, let me tell you about those decent pints:
Exmoor Gold Export 5.5% – A higher strength version of their well received Golden Ale. A sweet caramel nature balanced by a decent amount of bitterness.
Exmoor Silver Stallion 4.3% – A lovely, sweet full bodied malty beer. A classic sweet English Bitter.
Wadworth – Espirito de Carnaval 4.3% – An Olympics themed beer. A nice citrusy aroma coupled with a full bodied caramel maltiness. A man at the bar described it to me as “Caramac in a glass.” He wasn’t far off.
Regardless of my slightly snobby comments about the beer; what I can tell you is this. If you’re in the Wortwell area and you want a good value, friendly welcoming place to go to; then the Bell is for you.